Witchfire, Pt 9 – Training Day (Prelude)

Witchfire, Pt 9 – Training Day

“Help me!” Witchfire cried out.  “I tried to be what you want.”  “I can’t do it!”  “I’m… not good enough…”   “They won’t listen to me.”  “I CAN’T DO IT ALONE!” she screamed in vain.

There was a massive crack of thunder and lightning, causing Witchfire to shield her eyes

“What the hell is going on?” a booming masculine voice demanded.  “Where are we?!?”

“Easy Quentin,” a familiar voice said.  “Whoever she is, she doesn’t seem to be hostile.”

“We were just abducted, Brenda,” Sully growled.  “I’ll calm down when I…”  Sully looked down at the pathetic looking young woman on her knees before them, and then sighed.  “Alright,” he said in a calm but stern tone.  “Tell us what’s going on here.”

Witchfire looked up, a completely stunned look on her face.  She stammered for a few moments, trying to find her voice.  “I… I think I can,” she managed.  “I need to ask you one question first though.”  She paused uneasily.  “You’re… the Quentin Sullivan that is a Special Agent for the FBI and is responsible for getting the She-Legion better organized and focused, right?”

“Well I don’t like to brag…” Sully started, before taking an elbow to the ribs from Brenda Wade.  He paused for half a second when he realized what he’d just been asked, then his expression turned to a scowl.  “How the hell do you know that?!?” he demanded.

“Thank the goddess,” Witchfire exclaimed, on the verge of tears.  Still on her knees, she crawled the few feet of distance between them and took Sully’s hand.  “Please!” she pleaded.  “You have to help me.”  “I can’t get them to listen to me!”

Sully and Brenda Wade exchanged confused looks, both of them wondering about the girl’s sanity at this point.  “First you have to tell me where we are and what is going on here.” Sully said.  He tried to maintain a firm tone in his voice but couldn’t help but feel sorry for the clearly shaken woman at his feet.

Witchfire took a deep breath and tried to center herself as she was trained to do.  “You’re… right, I’m sorry.”  I’ve just been through utter hell the last few weeks.”  She carefully got to her feet, trying to maintain a friendly appearance.  She took another deep breath and then continued.  “My name is Krystal Reid, I… go by Witchfire when dressed like this though.”  “It… looks like my prayers for help brought you here.”

(Side note for those with a good memory; I did RetCon Witchy’s civilian name.  It’s now Krystal Evalyn Reid)

Brenda Wade looked around.  “It looks like we’re at the top of Griphon Mountain.”  “Delta City is just over there…”  “Something is… odd about the skyline though.”

“That’s what I meant about here,” Witchfire replied sheepishly.  “You’re still in Delta City, sort of… just on a different Earth.”

Sully’s face ticked a couple of times and his expression made it clear he was trying fight off a knee-jerk negative reaction.

“Well, Enyo did ask us to help somebody, and to be prepared for a trip…” Brenda said with a sigh and a wry chuckle.

Sully took a deep breath and then sighed.  “That she did.”  “This is a bit much though.”  He looked over Witchfire.  “OK, so what exactly is the situation here?”

Witchfire smiled slightly, a glimmer of hope showing in her eyes for the first time.  “It’s the She-Legion here,” she said.  “Remember how disorganized they were when you showed up in your Delta City?”

Sully rubbed his jaw and nodded silently, not liking where this was going.

“Well…” Witchfire continued, “to be blunt, they’re ten times worse on this world.”

Sully shook his head and let out a groan.

“Please tell me you’re exaggerating,” Brenda interjected.

“I wish,” Witchfire replied.  Her dry tone leaving little doubt how serious she was.  “I’ve been here about two weeks.”  “Just in the first three days, I rescued them from Nightmare Witch, got locked in an insane asylum for my trouble, rescued all of them but Lady Kraft, Jungle Babe and Specter Girl from Dragon Queen and got raped by a pregger plant in the process.”

“Geez…” Sully said.  “Alright, start from the beginning, and don’t leave anything out.”  “If we’re going to help, we need to know the exact situation in every detail.”

“Pull up a rock,” Witchfire replied as she sat down on a small boulder.  “This will take a few minutes.”

Meanwhile, at the mysterious villain organization’s headquarters.

“You heard me correctly, Senator,” the apparent leader said, staring at the row of monitors before him.  “The Aberration went through the She-Legion like a knife through butter, but the witch somehow took him out single-handedly.”

“How the fuck did that happen?!?” one of the shadowy figures on the monitors demanded.

“Somehow she knew his weakness, and exploited it fully,” the leader replied.

“God damned it Cromwell,” a female voice with a slight Latina accent snapped.  “You assured us you have Delta City under control.”  “If the public finds out what the Institute is up to in Delta City, it will be all our asses in a sling, starting with yours.”

“There’s no need to be dramatic, Senator,” Cromwell replied.  “The Aberration test proved that the She-Legion is still useless and clueless, even with the witch’s intervention.”  “We also learned she’s a threat we need to take more seriously but she should be easy to continue to keep isolated.”

“Can you guarantee that the Aberration won’t be traced back to the Institute in any way?” another male voice demanded.

“Absolutely, Mister Secretary,” Cromwell replied confidently.  “If anybody has the skills to properly analyze his DNA, all they will see is Professor Pervo’s handiwork in genetic engineering.”

“I still don’t like it,” another male voice.  “Axis Industries should be taking the lead on Project Dominance.”

“Kiss my ass, Yuri,” Cromwell growled.  “Your second rate pharma company doesn’t have half the experience with technology or genetics that Cromwell Industries does.”

“That’s enough!” the General barked.  “We’ve had this discussion before.”  “Things will remain as this council set them up until such time as the entire council decides otherwise.”  “Need I remind you what happened to General Wade when he refused to play ball?!?”

“Point made, General,” Cromwell said with a nod.  Yuri grumbled something resembling an agreement from the monitor he was on.

“Good,” The Secretary said.  “Double down on project security, and work on getting a new Aberration field ready.”  “It was the closest thing we had to a viable weapon.”

“Both are already in progress as we speak,” Cromwell replied.

“What about Bridge?” The General demanded.  “His sexual perversions are becoming a potential security risk.”

“He’s a pawn with little knowledge of our operations,” Cromwell replied bluntly.  “His electronics and telecommunications technology have been helpful, as have his financial contributions.”  “If he becomes a liability, he’ll develop health problems… fatal ones.”

(For more on Mr. Bridge, see Deanna Troi’s stories at DangerBabeCentral.com)

“With that settled, I think we can declare this meeting of the Council over,”  The Senator said.  “I have a National Security Oversight Committee meeting to attend in a half hour.”

With that, the other four members of the Institute’s governing council signed off, their monitors going dark.  Cromwell rubbed his goateed chin then straightened his suit coat, then turned to exit the control center.

“Best be careful, Max,” a woman’s voice said from near the doorway of the control center. “I think you’re starting to make the Council nervous.”  “Not healthy.”

Cromwell turned around, and flashed an arrogant smirk.  “You let me worry about the rest of the Council, Charity.”  “None of them have my intellect or vision.”

“Just don’t let those wax wings of pride carry you too close to the sun, Icarus,” Charity replied.  The leggy woman stood up from where she had been leaning against the wall with her arms crossed.  She adjusted her professional looking knee length black dress and gave Cromwell a cold stare.

“Oh ye of little faith,” Cromwell replied with a chuckle so devoid of joy it could chill to the bone.  “And from my own troubleshooter no less.”

“I’ll have more faith when I don’t have to shoot one of your out of control minions in front of the jail”, she replied dismissively.  Charity flipped her sandy brown pony tail off her shoulder and behind her back then walked out of the room.

Back at Griphon Mountain Park’s Summit:

“Just… wow.” Sully said, shaking his head.

“What do you think, Quentin?” Brenda Wade asked uneasily.

“It’s too crazy to be made up, Brenda,” Sully said.  “If I was going to come up with a story for a trap or something, I’d keep it less fantastic.”  “While she’s clearly stressed also, she doesn’t seem unhinged.”

“I… have to agree,” Brenda replied.  “I hate to believe there’s another me out there that blind and accepting of abuse though.”  “We have to do something.”  “If not for our counterparts, for the people of this city.”

“Agreed.” Sully replied.  “I think we need to move carefully until we find out more about this likely shadowy organization.”  “You know my motto…”

“Yeah, yeah…” Brenda replied with a teasing chuckle.  “Preparation is everything.” Brenda and Witchfire said in unison.

“This whole we’re just characters in a story thing may be the hardest part to accept,” Sully said as he stared at the giggling Witchfire.

“It’s not like that,” Witchfire said.  “You’re as real as I am.”  “Imagination is apparently a gateway that lets people view other worlds though.”

“I get it,” Sully said.  “I was just jokin’ because being a story character is a little easier to wrap my head around than essentially everybody has godlike ESP… and can potentially tune into me getting busy.”

Brenda interjected at that point, trying to change the subject.  “Can you show us this ‘Sanctuary’ place?” she asked Witchfire.  “It would chase away the last few small doubts I have.”  “This Doctor… Weird might have some insight on the situation as well.”

“Good idea,” Sully said, giving Brenda a loving smile.

“I suppose I can take you there.” Witchfire said, thinking.  “The Doc comes and goes though, and isn’t too free with information.”  “It’s like it’s part of a giant test for us to figure it all out.”

All three of them stood up from the group of rocks they’d been sitting on.  “Fair warning; my teleports are a little rough with two hitchhikers.”  “When we arrive, give yourselves a moment to regain your balance and bearings.”

Both of them nodded and then each put a hand on Witchfire’s shoulders.

A fraction of a second later, the trio appeared in front of the bar in Sanctuary.  Sully and Brenda took a moment to recover from the disorientation.  Brenda actually grabbed the old brass rail that ran around the bar to stabilize herself.

“You weren’t kidding,” Sully grumbled.  “I’ve had smoother rides on a C-130 through a hurricane.”

“Normally the trip isn’t that bad,” Witchfire lamented.  “Must be the crossing into a different dimension thing.”

Sully and Brenda looked around.  The place looked like a tired dive bar.  The wooden walls, floor and furniture all showed wear, but the place was far from dilapidated.  It had the stereotypical bar smell of beer and whiskey as well.  The bar was half full of customers, most of them looking lower class with a smattering of middle class people here and there.

Aphrodites being more common than adonis gene carriers, there were probably five women to every man there.  A few people had obvious physical abnormalities like oddly colored hair or scaled skin.  The vast majority looked quite human however. The one thing they all had in common was a palpable uneasiness about them.  Sully studied the crowd intently, and noticed several uneasy gazes being cast back at the new arrivals.

“These people look scared half to death, Quentin,” Brenda said.  She shifted awkwardly, finding the uneasiness to be contagious.  Sully nodded, trying to size up the situation.

“It’s normally not this bad…” Witchfire replied.  “I think it’s because you’re both newcomers, and they probably recognize Ms. Wade.”

“That can’t be good,” Sully said.  “They may have all kinds of paranoid ideas about what Brenda’s doing here.”

Witchfire nodded in agreement.  She took a deep breath and faced the crowd at the tables.  “It’s OK folks,” she said.  “I brought them here to see if they can help us.”  “Everybody’s safe, Sanctuary is still a perfectly safe haven, I promise.”

To Sully and Brenda’s surprise, the crowd settled down and returned to their drinks. The sense of uneasiness was still there, not substantially diminished.

“I’m impressed,” Sully said.  “You defused that situation pretty easily.”

“They… trust me.” Witchfire replied.  “I’ve put my butt on the line for them, and built some trust with them here as well.”

“I’m beginning to wonder if that trust was misplaced,” said a tall bearded man with dark hair.  He wore blue jeans and snake skin cowboy boots along with a loose fitting, untucked shirt that looked like it belonged in a pirate movie.

“Gee, thanks boss,” Witchfire sighed.  “Great to see you also.”

“It’s bad enough I have you and the blonde mucking with events,” Doctor Weird replied.  “Now you’re bringing in other off-worlders also?”  He sighed and rubbed his forehead.  “Just how complicated are you trying to make my job??”

Sully scowled and started to snap a heated reply but Brenda gave him a squeeze on the arm to remind him to stay calm.

“Guys, meet Doctor Steven Weird, Sorcerer Supreme for this reality,” Witchfire said.  “You already seem to know who Sully & Ms. Wade are Doc, I’d also assume you’d know bringing them here was NOT my idea.”  “I simply asked Freya for help, any help.”

“And Enyo sent us in response.” Sully interjected in an irritated tone.  “Maybe if you weren’t doing such a bang up job here, we wouldn’t have been needed.”

Dr. Weird rolled his eyes.  “My job is to keep the giant cosmic level threats from destroying reality.”  “Me dealing with things like this would only open the door to equally powerful and evil things being able to intervene in them as well.”  “It’d get REAL ugly from there, trust me.”  “To be blunt, you all should be more than capable of handling this mess anyway if there was any teamwork and mutual respect.”

“Well, that’s what Brenda and I are here to take care of,” Sully growled.

“You do that,” Dr. Weird growled back.  “Have a beer while you’re at it,” he added, motioning to the bar.  “In the meantime, I have to go talk to a few gods about throwing new pieces on the board and making my job all the harder.” With a wave his hands, Dr Weird vanished.

“Pompous jerk,” Sully snarled.

“The Doc just has a lot on his mind,” Dani said from behind the bar.  “There’s way more at stake than he’s letting on, and his hands are tied on how directly involved he can get.”

“This is Danielle Strongbow, guys,” Witchfire said.  “She manages the bar for the Doc.”

“Call me Dani,” Danielle said with a smirk while wiping down the bar.  “I don’t get the rules he has to operate under either, I just know he does what he can to sneak some help here and there, like Giving Krystal a place to stay here that’s safe from outside intrusion.”

“Well, that’s something at least,” Sully said.  He pulled out his silver flask from the inner pocket of his leather jacket.  “Better fill this up for me,” he said, passing it to Dani.  “Top shelf stuff too.”  “I got a feeling it’s going to be a long night…”

Brenda gave Sully a look of mild disapproval, which Witchfire smirked at.  “We’d better get to She-Legion headquarters right away,” Brenda said.

“Here yah go,” Dani said, passing the flask back Sully with a chuckle.  “I’ll put it on Witchy’s tab.”

“Thanks,” Sully said.  He shook his head as he slipped the flask back into his jacket pocket.  “Who’s the blonde that the Doc mentioned?” Sully asked Witchfire.

“Her name is Nancy Peye,” Witchfire replied.  “She’s operating as a P.I. here, but was sent from another reality to ascertain if this reality was a threat to other ones, and fix it if possible.”  “She’s on par with a tier one aphrodite, but doesn’t have the same sexual vulnerabilities.”  “You’d never know it from the situations she ends up in though,” Witchfire added with a sigh.

“That bad, huh?” Sully asked.

“No… she’s skilled,” Witchfire said, stumbling for the right words.  “To be blunt, I’m worried that this reality is having some sort of an effect on her though, maybe with the help of whoever is behind all this crap.”  “She seems to be getting pretty promiscuous.”

“Sounds like we’d better have a talk with her at some point also,” Sully replied.  “Maybe she knows something that can help.”  “Maybe we can help her.”

“We should start with the She-legion,” Brenda insisted.  “If we can get them on the right track, anything else we do here should be that much easier.”

“Alright, we’ll play it your way for now, Brenda,” Sully replied.  “Ready for another teleport?” he asked Witchfire.

Witchfire nodded.  “Let’s go.”  “The sooner we pull this off, the sooner I get my sanity back.”

A few moments later, the trio appeared in the control room of the She-Legion’s HQ.  There was the crashing sound of a glass hitting the floor and a startled gasp that bordered on a shriek.

“Quen… Quentin?!?” Ms. Americana gasped.  The woman’s face went from one of abject shock to blind rage as she beheld Brenda Wade.  “Nightmare Witch!!” she screamed. “You’re not getting your hooks into Quentin or anyone else here!!”

The enraged Ms. Americana leapt like a wild animal at Brenda, only to hit a hastily constructed energy wall made by Witchfire.

“Drop that barrier!” Ms. Americana screamed.  “Why are you helping her?”  “Let me at her!”

“Ah… shit.” Sully said, shaking his head in disbelief.

To Be Continued

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